Using OSCAR to Apply for Federal Clerkships

Applying for clerkships in OSCAR may seem complex at first, but it is a fairly straightforward process.  OSCAR provides an Applicant User Guide, which you should print out and refer to frequently. 

OSCAR Tip Sheets

In addition, OSCAR provides tip sheets for applicants, which cover some of the trickier aspects of the OSCAR system.  To link to the OSCAR tip sheets, log onto OSCAR, click on the Resources tab, then select the Applicant Resources tab.  The tips sheets available to applicants include:

  • Updating your profile
  • An overview of the application process
  • Selecting your recommenders
  • Creating cover letters and grade sheets
  • Searching for clerkships
  • Copying clerkships into folders
  • Building applications
  • Finalizing applications in a batch method
  • Deleting/withdrawing applications.

Clerkship Application Process

The clerkship application process in OSCAR can be broken down into four basic steps:

  1. Upload Documents
  2. Identify Recommenders
  3. Research and Manage Clerkships
  4. Submit Applications

A basic understanding of the application process will allow you to more effectively use the OSCAR system in your goal of securing a federal clerkship position.

Uploading Documents

Before you can begin building your applications, you will need to upload the documents — cover letter, resume, grade sheet(s), and writing sample(s) — you plan to submit. The number and type of documents you submit with any given clerkship application packet will vary depending on the judges’ requirements; however, a resume is always required. The My Documents tab is where you will upload or create all of the applicant-generated documents that you will include in your clerkship application packets. The process of uploading documents to OSCAR is simple and straightforward, but there are certain restrictions you must be aware of:

  1. All documents uploaded to OSCAR must be in .pdf format. Note: OSCAR does not currently support the newest version of Adobe .pdf. However, the system will run a script to convert any documents created with this software to an earlier, compatible format. To avoid this delay, you may wish to use another .pdf conversion tool.
  2. All documents uploaded to OSCAR must be less the 300KB in size.
  3. Official transcripts cannot be uploaded to OSCAR. They must be created using the grade sheet online form. Note: Judges are aware that these are not official transcripts.
  4. You are restricted to having a certain number of documents uploaded to OSCAR at any one time. Restrictions vary by document type and are listed on the My Documents tab.

Identifying Recommenders

Selecting your recommenders is a crucial part of the application process. You must identify all of your recommenders before submitting applications, just as you must upload all your application documents before applying to a clerkship position. Please note that simply identifying your pool of recommenders does not generate recommendation requests. Recommendation letters are associated specifically with an application packet, so you must actually create an application for and associate recommenders with each clerkship position to generate recommendation requests.

Research and Manage Clerkships

Once you have uploaded all necessary application documents and created your pool of recommenders, it is time to begin searching for clerkship positions. There are several tools at your disposal for narrowing the field to just those clerkship positions that fit your particular goals and interests. Additionally, OSCAR provides you with the ability to organize clerkships into folders to better manage your application process.

Submit Applications

Once you have identified the clerkship positions you will apply to, you can begin building your applications. You will need to have all your application documents uploaded to the My Documents tab and your pool of recommenders created in the My Recommendations tab. With all this done ahead of time, building the application will be a simple and straightforward process.

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